There is little reliable evidence of Jesus’ actual life and teaching, so most of the information comes from religious texts. Yet it is known that Jesus never called to ruin the Roman Empire and was never dangerous for Roman authorities. His execution was demanded by local religious leaders who treated him as a threat to their spiritual domination among Jewish people. Pilate believed that he has solved the problem by execution of a strange prophet, yet he was wrong. It was then when Christianity started its triumphant movement throughout the empire. The Spread of Christianity
Early Christians were nothing but a minor group of Jewish religious radicals. But through their passionate teaching in various parts of the empire Christianity became known to Roman people and gained increasing popularity. At first it was not perceived as something dangerous because Roman society was religiously tolerant. The Appeal of Christianity Unusual about the new teaching was that it appealed to the poor, not to the rich. It proposed an aim of existence that many Romans have lost in the Pax Romana, and Christianizing the world eventually became an idea for many Romans.
Christianity also proposed a sense of community that many Romans lacked in their cosmopolite civilization. Augustus’s Successors. Julio Claudius and the Flavians Within fifty years after Augustus’s death a dynasty known as Julio-Claudians was established. Emperors like Claudius and Vespesian established a massive administration yet eventually found themselves dependant on the army. Brilliant rules were interrupted by disgusting people like Nero and Caligula returning a sense of instability to Rome. Although still successful in protecting its border the Empire faced increasing outside pressure. The Age of “Five Good Emperors”
Prosperity of the Empire continued during the age of “five good emperors” in the first century AD. Gaining their power by their own virtues and skills people like Hadrian and Trajan proved themselves to be strong and successful rulers. However, growing imperial bureaucracy constituted their main problem making the government too inactive and insensitive to the needs of the state and people. The cornerstone of Roman power – the army, was now less and less “Roman” as most of the soldiers and about a half of the officers came from Romanized provinces. Although obtaining Roman citizenship those people gradually undermined Roman power.
Life in the Golden Age The first century AD is often called “a Golden Age or Rome”. Life both in Rome and provinces was peaceful and lavish. Imperial Rome The population of the imperial capital amounted to 750 000 men. Riots were successfully prevented by food distribution among the people. A famous motto “bread and circuses! ” ruled the minds of simple Romans while the rich enjoyed living in palaces. The people of Rome whether rich or poor became addicted to such entertainment as gladiator fights or chariot races in which the might of the empire was embodied. Rome and the Provinces
In the provinces people became increasingly Romanized through use of unified language (Latin), law and customs. In the rural regions people maintained their traditional lifestyle for longer time, yet they also experienced heavy Roman influence. In the late second century soldiers were allowed to marry and such marriages to local women additionally contributed to occurrence of mixed populations in the provinces. Roman settlers and veterans received land in the provinces acting as agents of Roman influence. Peaceful life in the provinces enabled development of local culture and philosophy creating multicultural communities.